5 Traits of Successful Financial Advisors

by | Nov 19, 2019 | Blog

We all have established personality traits; aspects of ourselves that result in both positive and negative tendencies. Often our parents will proclaim that our positive characteristics came from them, and our negative ones, well those are from some other family member. Regardless, we all have personality traits that lend themselves well to our potential for success.

It’s easy to search the web and find a list of character traits exhibited by the most successful people in business, sports, and entertainment. However, what about a study specific to the characteristics of successful financial advisors? conducted a research study in 2018 on the Financial Planning Process1, examining the personality traits of over 1,000 financial advisors. What they found is that there is a slight difference between successful financial advisors and successful financial planners. However, overall, they determined those who were highly conscientious and very agreeable had the highest incomes and longest careers.

In a recent advisor panel, we asked advisors what traits they felt attributed the most to their success. Based on this discussion, here are five characteristics they agreed help contribute to successful financial advisors.


Gratitude is a personality trait that is widely studied. In one article, gratitude is linked to 29 scientifically proven benefits. Included in the extensive list of benefits are improved self-esteem, likeability, and increased social capital, increased productivity, and increased goal achievement. You can access the full list of benefits here2.

Good Listener

We tend to think being extroverted is a requirement to be a successful financial advisor. Surprisingly not. However, you do need to be a good listener. Good listeners are found to be empathetic, have high emotional intelligence, know how to ask the right questions, and are okay with being uncomfortable. How can you give sound financial advice without all of the above?


There is nothing predictable about the markets, so resiliency is a much-needed character trait for financial advisors. The ability to recover quickly from unexpected misfortune, or mistakes is a hallmark of successful financial advisors.


Trustworthy people are authentic. They do not steer away from hard-to-have conversations and do not overpromise. When clients want to talk about fees, they embrace the conversation and demonstrate transparency. When clients want to talk about returns, they are upfront about expectations and limitations. Trustworthiness builds long-lasting relationships and successful advisory practices.

Achievement Oriented

Stephen Fuller, CFP®, ChFC, who participated in our panel discussion, referred to this as “adopting a successor mentality.” When you have a successor mentality or are achievement-oriented, you are eager to learn from those who have paved the way before you and set new goals. Being achievement-oriented is a tendency associated with conscientiousness; a personality trait found shared among successful advisors.

There’s no doubt this list can be longer! If you possess these traits, we’d like to help you on your path to continued success as a financial advisor. Learn more about the benefits of partnering with Financial Advocates here3.


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